Saturday, April 22, 2017

This Review Couldn't Wait
See self-description from the band's Facebook page; Perfect analysis:

"Mix the early eras of Zeppelin, Kiss, Black Sabbath, James Gang, and Grand Funk Railroad. Add a healthy sprinkle of resinous dust from obscure bands like Sir Lord Baltimore, Bang, Cactus, Pentagram, Leaf Hound, and Captain Beyond. Roll mixture in over-sized papers and smoke while cruising on a Friday night in a Camaro...the resulting aroma is SKUNK." 

This band clearly listens to everything I did growing up, and has put a fresh take on all of it;  Skunk's Doubleblind is the quintessential Stoner Rock album of the decade in my book, and if this is not number one on my best of 2017 list at the end of the year, then 2017 will have been a truly historic year.  It's release on 4/20 was no accident, and every single tune is worthy of your attention.  
I am going to post three here, as opposed to my usual two for a new album.  Much respect:  

Here's the opener, "Forest Nymph":

Now, "Harvest Queen":

Lastly, "Devil Weed":

To cement the connection I feel to this band, I had this blacklight poster on my bedroom wall growing up
Here's a pic I found on Skunk's Facebook page:

Skunk is from Oakland, California, and consists of:
John McKelvy - Vocals
Dmitri Mavra - Guitar
Erik Pearson - Guitar
Matt Knoth - Bass
Jordan Ruyle - Drums

Found this tonight, and was tired and pressed for time.  But I love this so much I can't in good conscience wait till next weekend to share.  Best thing I've downloaded in quite some time and I hope some of you find this release as important as I do.  

We ought to be seeing a *#@!load of May flowers pretty soon after all this rain; 
Am really leaving this time; until next weekend   -ULTRA

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Monsterpiece Theater

BIOHAZARD: Uncivilization

Let's look at one of the classics this week.  I threw this album on my playlist this week and the perfection and genius of this album was renewed for me, and I just had to share.  If you have been a  metalhead for this entire milennium, you probably own this album.  I owned this on cassette, and played it to the death.  Definitely my favorite Biohazard album to this day.  Lots of guest artists, but 100% Biohazard through and through; nobody took over any tune.  Rather, each guest artist was a contributor to a Biohazard masterpiece.  Every single tune on this album is a classic, but here are a few of my favorites.  
Here is "Plastic": "I am the voice of hate.  You're so fuckin' fake..."
And now "Trap":
And "Domination":
"Last Man Standing": 

I will NOT argue that these four tunes are better than any others on this album; Uncivilization is a "posterchild" for perfection in a metal album.  I've got a couple of really cool new albums to share, but listening to Uncivilization this week made me feel the need to remind you all of how awesome this album was (and still is).  New stuff next weekend.   -ULTRA

Friday, April 14, 2017

New Stoner Rock, Released Within the Last 24 Hours

Got tipped off on this one by "FDJ" on bandcamp, and purchased after a single listen.  Not much information available on this band, but I am a sucker for bands with a 1970's sound, great guitar bass and drums, and fresh songwriting.  The Riven's "Blackbird" has all of this, in generous amounts.  Vocalist Charlotta is excellent, but this would still be a great album if she were left out.  

First, let's go with "Killer On The Loose", with a real retro feel:

Next, the lead-off track, "Ain't No Doctor".  Check out the diversity of awesome rock contained within this one tune.  This is a first release, but I can't imagine this is the first band for any of these people; it is simply too good:

You just heard two tunes off of this release, and these plus three others are available here for 4 euros, which translates into about 5 dollars.  
The Riven is:
Charlotta Ekebergh - Vocals
Arnau Diaz - Guitar
Max Ternebring - Bass Guitar
Olof Axegärd - Drums

Looking forward to learning more about this band, and hearing what comes next.  In the meantime, these five tracks tell me a lot.  Hope you have enjoyed these tracks too.  Until next time  -ULTRA

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Grownman's Fast Finds for April!

Welcome back folks! This month we check out some live shit, binge on a real short political parody album and purge on some freshly baked metal. Strap in.

The mighty Russian Circles just released an epic live recording of their performance at Dunk! Fest. How can you not be excited for this? 

We are going two for two. A rare Godflesh live recording and it's as cool as you'd think it would be. HEAVY, MENACING and Destructive to it's core.

Seth Putnam would be proud. 

Satan's Hallow - Satan's Hallow 
While I totally dig the music, the vocals leave me wanting something a little less polished. It's like totally worth the listen for the instrumentation though.

NightWraith - NightWraith
I'm totally loving the flavor of this harsh vibe. Doom, pagan and black metal influences all come together nicely. This is one you head bang to all night long. After all the beer spilling and sword play this album inspires, you may have to re plaster your basement and pull up that shag rug. YARRRRRRHHHHHH!

Glacial Tomb - Cognitive Erosion
The title of the album says it all. This whole album sounds like a pissed off berserker cutting a swath of violence through a field of innocent minds. Sludgy death and crusty metal. Acidic and Corrosive at every turn.

Falling in Reverse - Coming Home
I know, I know. But it's not terrible. 


Saturday, April 8, 2017


Here are a couple of 2016 albums I've been listening to a lot lately. 
 They kind of grew on me, and I wanted to share, given that they're relatively obscure.

First, Steinsopp's self-titled release from last August.  Definitely will appeal to doom fans, but many tunes also have a nineteen seventies classic rock feel to them as well.  Very cool, and definitely grows on you over time.  
Here is "Mycologist: 

Steinsopp is from Aurskog, Norway.  They are:
Kim Hansen
Steffen Røed 
Erik Alm

(This one is "Name Your Price" on Bandcamp)

Second, is "Indeterminate", released in October by the band Cloud.  Where Steinsopp represents a classic rock/doom fusion, Cloud is more of a heavy metal/doom mix.  Another album that took hold with successive listens.  
Here is my favorite track, "Desert Weed":
Cloud is from Pittsburgh.  They are:
Jeff "Trash" Hartwell - Guitars
Josh Dower - Bass
Scott Rebarchak - Drums

You already know by now I don't like to get too wordy.  For me, doesn't matter what somebody writes; if I preview a tune and don't like it, I'm out.  And if I like the tune I go grab the album and take note of which website recommended it, so I can check back in later for more cool finds.  Not trying to win an award, just trying to spread the word on some cool bands and ideally help to make them more well known.  Hope you dug the tunes, and hope you check back next weekend for some more Ultra recommendations.   

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Redemption Songs - The Rise of the Art of Anarchy

Art of Anarchy were thrown into upheaval right out of the starting blocks. Just as they were promoting their first release, vocalist Scott Weiland was distancing himself from the band. Weiland was quick to point out to anyone that would listen that his part in the project was as a hired hand and a one off. Weiland was prepping for his own solo album and tour. A tour that would see the death of one of his own band members as well as his own untimely demise.

Future vocalist, Scott Stapp formerly of Creed had his own issues. Various news outfits were carrying video clips of Stapp's bizarre rants about being tracked by the FBI and pleas to help him figure out a way to recover money that he said was stolen from his bank account. His family at the time was reaching out to the public to disregard the videos and to get the former rock star frontman some medical help. The videos continued for a few weeks until he eventually did get the help he needed to overcome the various issues he was dealing with.

Cut to the present. Art of Anarchy just released their sophomore effort, The Madness. While I wasn't quite convinced by their first release which I found was pretty bipolar. Between the somewhat diminished delivery of Scott Weiland and the much heavier sound of the band, it just didn't feel the band fit with the singer. The Madness is much a better mix of styles. Stapp's vocals are still quite strong at this stage in his career and that's exactly what is needed to match the firepower of Bumblefoot and company's performance. Art of Anarchy is much more than an outlet for former Guns N Roses guitarist's Bumblefoot to display his chops. This is not a John 5 style project where the guitarist is the focal point. It's truly a quality heavy rock band that's closer to metal than pop rock radio. Ironically, I found a few tracks on this album that echo the style of Alter Bridge, a band comprised of Mark Tremonti of Creed and Slash of Gun's n Roses. Maybe it's the pedigree. "Thousand Degrees" is a stand out track that will satiate the appetite of fans of bands like Creed, Shinedown and Alterbridge. While I'm honestly not quite sure if all or any of the tracks were written before Stapp joined the project, lyrics for songs like "Changed Man" and "The Madness" definitely reflect the events of Stapp's own life.

Overall this is a good heavy rock album. There is a nice blend of heavy and reflective tunes throughout. The band as a whole is a great combination of veteran players playing at the top of their game. The Madness at it's heart is an album about redemption. It's great to see that the band is much more than a footnote attached to the death of a fallen star. Art of Anarchy have risen from the ashes of a false start and have put their faith in a frontman who's been through his own personal hell and back. Best wishes to the future of the Art of Anarchy.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Troubled Horse: Revolution On Repeat

TROUBLED HORSE: Revolution On Repeat
Hard Rock Perfection
For those of you who missed the debut album in 2012, Troubled Horse contains three of the original members of Witchcraft (Ola, John and Jens).  Their debut release, "Step Inside", is only one of the best rock albums to ever be released  (Strong language that I am going to stand by; I consider it to be among the best rock albums that I own).  While Step Inside would never be confused for Witchcraft, it was enlightening to see what kind of influences these early members brought to the first album.  "Revolution on Repeat" is heavier, and more reminiscent of early Witchcraft, which is not a bad thing.  Great bands always change it up a bit when they've made you wait for the next release, and that is the case here.  While "Step Inside" stands tall in the straight up "Rock" category, "Revolution On Repeat" clearly deserves the  "Stoner Rock" label.  Here are a couple of my early favorites; first is "The Haunted":

The Haunted from Ultra Sounds on Vimeo.
Also, here is the video for the lead-off track, "Hurricane":
Revolution on Repeat is an instant contender for top five in 2017.  As Magnus Pelander continues to move on from band member after band member, Troubled Horse makes me ask "What was the matter with the original line-up?".
Troubled Horse is:
Martin Heppich: Vocals, Guitar
Ola Henriksson: Bass
John Hoyles: Lead Guitar
Jens Henriksson: Drums

I don't use all this strong language lightly. Do yourself a favor, and check out the high-quality heavy rock brought to the table by Troubled Horse.  

Until next time:   -ULTRA